After the film storage room of Goldman Laboratories is torched by two men in ski masks, owner and filmmaker Marvin Goldman hires the Angels to find out who done it.
The Angels settle into the Goldman lab for the entire day and proceed to run each and every piece of film in his storage vault, abstractedly searching for clues as to why the arsonists would want to destroy the footage.
Jill meets "The Avenging Angel", famed Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Paul Baylor downtown at police headquarters to share information about the case. Charmed, Baylor asks Jill to lunch under the guise of swapping clues.
Bosley and Sabrina go around town questioning some of Marvin's silent partners, who get curiously uptight at the very mention of his name. Bri stops at a tropical fish store to speak to its bizarre owner, and Bosley hits the links, meeting up with a very direct woman who offers little helpful information.
Kelly:"Is that a photoplay?"
Kelly overhears Marvin talking to the 20-something director of "freeform" pictures, who she follows to a hamburger stand dressed as a sexy country bumpkin who will do "anything" to get into the movies. From her brief encounter, she learns that "freeform" translates to trashy pornography, and that Goldman Laboratories is the secret home to a pornographic film studio which Marvin was too embarrassed to reveal to them before this point.
For some reason, it's then necessary for the girls to sit in a screening room and watch a multitude of cheesy soft-porn film produced by the small-time studio. Kelly and Bri encounter the actors starring in a Little Bo Peep themed...childrens' story...and Sabrina seems scarred by the new take on one of her favorite childhood stories.
That evening, Jill has a slinky dinner date at an upscale restaurant with the "handsome" (so she says) Paul Baylor, who tells her a story about his preacher father who once warned him to "walk briskly towards the Lord, 'cause if you look back, you'll see the devil's face and turn to stone."
After dinner, Jill, too tired to drive home to her beach house, phones Bri and asks if she can stay with her for the night. Driving in the darkness, she is tailed to Sabrina's apartment by a blonde man who plays cat and mouse with her in Bri's garage, stalking and firing shots at her in the shadows. Jill returns fire, scaring her would-be-killer off the property.
The next morning the Angels learn that Marvin's silent investors are actually blackmail victims who are the unknowing participants in the dull porno footage he's shot. Jill lucks out and happens to spot the same blonde man she gun battled with the night before - accidentally having been captured in the background of a night scene in one of Marvin's films.
Kelly works with Marvin in the film lab, blowing up a frame of the film to get a closer look at the license plate on the Blonde Man's car seen in the movie, while Bri heads out to the DMV to meet with an old police academy buddy of theirs who is ready to look up the suspicious plates in the department's records.
On her own, Jill figures out where the movie was filmed and heads out to the apartment complex where the scene was shot to poke around for clues based on her hunch. She discovers a police-sealed apartment bearing the name of Paul Baylor's famed "Manescu" case. Hmm, a curious connection?
Jill phones Baylor's office from the Cobra but instead reaches an associate detective who is none other than the freshly coiffed Blonde Man! He quickly arrives on scene to discuss the case with Jill, who finally realizes something is amiss when Baylor also shows up looking smug and suspicious.
Detained at the DMV, Sabrina discovers that the cinematic license plates belong to an official police vehicle, and she realizes Jill is in grave danger. Kelly speeds by in the Mustang to pick up Bri, and the two Angels race to the Manescu apartment to save Jill.
Just as things have started to get uncomfortable, Jill spots the speeding Mustang, Sparta-kicks the bad cops, dives across the driveway and into the bushes, sidestepping a bullet just by a hair of her feathered head. Bri and Kelly come to a screeching halt, forcing the bad guys down onto the ground, pistols trained.
The police arrive and round up the rotten apples as Jill dejectedly says goodbye to shady Baylor and his new gunshot wound, warning him to keep an eye out for the devil at his back. Sabrina pets the sullen Jill's hair as Kelly looks distracted, likely wondering how her own hair looks in comparison.
WHAT'D YOU THINK?
• Why do the bad guys bother wearing ski masks with eye and mouth holes stretched so wide that you can see their entire faces anyway?
• What's with Paul Baylor's vision? He has on these huge tinted glasses indoors, so they must not be sunglasses, but he takes them off to write down a phone number and then puts them back on to look at Jill who's literally 1 foot away from his face, but then doesn't wear them to dinner, so...?
• A book entitled "ANGELFISH" is visible during Sabrina's visit to the Tropical Fish Store.
• Speaking of fish, what's with the big fish theme in this episode? They must have gotten a deal with the Fish Store to let them borrow a tank for Charlie's bimbo to pretend to look at.
• This episode originally aired on the night of Farrah Fawcett's 30th birthday.
• How late is it that no one comes running when there are gunshots coming from the apartment building's garage? Not even Sabrina comes down to check it out?
• Apart from needing to cause the final action sequence, why did Jill make the two crooked cops actually drive out to Manescu's apartment instead of just telling them about it on the phone?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
Everyone looks fabulous in their casual 70's fashion. It's strange that the wardrobe high point of the episode, Jill's elegant evening gown, remains mostly hidden behind her table for the entire dinner scene.
Sabrina wears the same striped shirt in The Big Tap-Out. Honorable mention: Kelly's red top with the curly collar has a yellow twin in Lady Killer.
|Dirty Business||The Big Tap-Out|
PORNO ON THE JOB
This is neither the first nor the last case that requires the Angels to watch porn on the job, though it's actually less awkward than the times they lug a projector back to the office and watch it there. Why does this happen so often?
Charlie has Gloria, an ichthyologist, examining the fish tank in his office with a magnifying glass. Later she's dropped the fish theme and is laid out in a bikini with Charlie awkwardly grasping her head. This results in some of the only semi-amusing dialogue ever regarding a bimbo scene:
Bosley: "What is an ichthyologist?" Jill: "It doesn't matter."
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Good Angel content with the girls in nearly every scene. 10 extra minutes give Jill quite a focus here over her comrades. With over a half hour on screen, this is one of her highest screen times ever.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 90%
Often overlooked, this episode contains one of the best action moments of the series. Kelly skids into the scene behind the wheel of her Mustang with Sabrina armed and riding shotgun. Baylor gets hit with a whizzing bullet intended for the leaping Jill as the Mustang speeds into the scene, then both Angels get to pull their guns dramatically on the two crooked cops. Jill knows Kelly is serious about her car stunts and has to dive into some bushes to save her own life.
+1 FOR EFFORT
Since we'd complain about the opposite, we have to take a moment to praise this: in an unusual twist, someone actually put enough thought into the garage scene to park Sabrina's Pinto in there. Furthermore, we're proud that there was never a shot of just the Pinto, which would say "HEY, look what we bothered to do!" Just right, leaving it in the shadows for us to notice on our own. Nice work.
Alan Feinstein: Paul Baylor later becomes shady beach cop Dave Christopher in The Sandcastle Murders.
Warren Berlinger: Marvin Goldman also plays the hat-losing Beck in One of Our Angels is Missing.
Sidney Clute: Lembeck, the blonde man's sidekick, plays Les Ferrar in Angels in the Stretch.
Prolific writer Ed Lakso brought us roughly one third of the series, including Hellride, The Seance, Dirty Business, The Vegas Connection, I Will Be Remembered, The Blue Angels, Pretty Angels All in a Row, Angels in the Wings, Angels on Horseback, Angels in Vegas, Winning is for Losers, Pom Pom Angels, Counterfeit Angels, Disco Angels, Terror on Skis, Angel in a Box, Teen Angels, Marathon Angels, Angels in Waiting, Angels Remembered, Love Boat Angels, Avenging Angel, Angels on the Street, The Prince and the Angel, Angel's Child, One of Our Angels is Missing, Catch a Falling Angel, Dancin' Angels, Harrigan's Angel, Three for the Money, To See an Angel Die, Angel in Hiding, He Married an Angel, Angel on the Line, Chorus Line Angels, Stuntwomen Angels, Angel on a Roll, and Let Our Angel Live.
Holly's Rating: This is a classic for me - I think I'm biased because I was fortunate enough to actually walk the steps of the Manescu Apartment during our Townsend Agency location shoots in Los Angeles, so Dirty Business holds a special place for me. It's Season 1 perfection with everyone getting a moment in the sun - Bri is caught in a mega-rare moment as a timid little girl when she encounters the Wheat Raping guy; Kelly dives into one of her iconic covers as the sexy bumpkin; and Jill sees some truly exciting action in her shootout with the blonde man. Let's not forget one of the series' coolest action sequences at this episode's finale! Don't miss it!
Anna's Rating: I agree with the sentiments above. This episode is often overlooked or groaned-at, but is a hidden gem in my opinion. Sure, you may not catch any details of the plot, but you don't have to; following the plot on this show is like extra credit. Great action, fun, suspense, and cheese. This is a perfect example of when the Angels just are cool, even when they're not really doing anything. You go "Wow" when Farrah simply gets out of her car. I don't know what it is exactly, but to me, this level of of coolness is missing from later Angels and/or seasons.
MORE SEASON 1 EPISODE REVIEWS